Symptoms and Treatment of Bronchiolitis

Bronchiolitis, often caused by RSV and seen more often in children and infants, can be confused at times with other problems of the lungs. Therefore, understanding the symptoms of bronchiolitis can be imperative to saving the life of someone who contracts it.

Wheezing is one of the initial signs of bronchiolitis, in addition to a wheezy cough. This condition is usually referred to by ER doctors as a “stridor.” The child will also likely be lethargic.

A child, especially an infant, who has bronchiolitis will show signs of struggling with breathing such as nostrils flaring and the muscles over the rib cage contracting visibly as the child breathes. For this reason, it is important to observe the child closely.

A fever is common with bronchiolitis as it is generally brought on by a viral infection. Two of the more serious signs are rapid breathing, indicating a lack of oxygenation, and bluish skin, an indicator of the same. Any of these symptoms are cause for alarm and the child exhibiting them should be taken in immediately for emergency treatment.

Treatment for bronchiolitis generally includes a steroid treatment to reduce inflammation and open the airways. For those children who have a viral infection and are very ill, antivirals may be utilized as well. Once bronchiolitis is properly treated, it generally clears fairly rapidly with all symptoms resolved within a week to 10 days.

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